Sunday, September 22, 2013

Kid Time and Adult Time: Different Perspectives

At our back to school night, the first grade parents learned more about their children's investigations into the nature of time.  The afternoon before the parents arrived, the children had developed their own ideas about how adults think of time:
W:  They have lived longer, so they know more about time.
E.K.:  They are older. 

L: But they don't do fun things ever. Or hardly ever. 
N:  Parents do more boring stuff like laundry.  They have a lot of work.  We only have a little.
M:  Sometimes my mom plays and sometimes she works. 
A.C.:  Mommy and Daddy work during the day and then they play with us on the weekend. 


T:  Watching a movie with popcorn

T: Having fun playing a board game

I: Buying Legos at Target with Mom

A.C.:  Having fun, riding bikes.

A.C.:  Parents' time:  They have three kinds of time:  work time, snuggling time, and relaxing time.  Working time is boring, boring, boring! 
E.S.:  My mom is washing dishes and I want something to eat. I need it now.  "Mom, mom, mom!," and she says, "Okay, okay, okay."  [On the right]:  I'm watching my favorite tv show.  Mom's doing the chores, but I have some too.  I don't like my chores, and my mom doesn't either. 
M:  Kids get more time to stare at random things.  Mom gets more time to cook.  She is good at cooking, but it's not that fun to do.  She needs to do it so we won't starve to death. 
Along with many pictures of parents doing laundry and cooking, most of the children seemed to understand that adult time comes with a different set of priorities.  Time is all about perspective - it shapes our perspectives of the people we share it with and our very concept of what time itself is or can be.  As the children have been considering their own ideas about what the past, present, and future are, and what kid time is like compared to adult time, we decided to turn the question to the parents:  how do you perceive time?  Below are some of the parents' responses and the children's responses to them the following day:

I:  I think she means that she has not had enough time to do everything in a year. 
L:  The days are long because she has to do more things, but has less to do over the [course of a] year.
M:  The time goes faster in a year.

“Sometimes I wish time would slow down, especially when playing with the kids”
A.L.:  They would rather play with the kids but they want their chores to be sped up.
As a class, they agreed that spending quality time is special and everyone wants it to last longer.  If there is something we don’t want to do – work, a chore, waiting – we wish time would speed up.
M: The main reason that time goes slower and faster when you are impatient [is] that you pay attention to the clock.  When you are having fun, you don't pay attention.

As adults - and as parents - we wish time would slow down.

N.B.’s father’s timeline had us all laughing - the children asked that we read it several times for full comedic effect:

“Live for the moment.”  Which moments should we live for?
T:  The relaxed moment.
M:  To eat donuts.
W:  I really want to go to Legoland.  My mom really wants to spend time with me.

How can you make chores more meaningful and make the time less difficult?
M: Do them with your best friend.
W: I get paid and I am saving for an Ipad so it’s not so bad.
P: Sometimes I wish I had a robot to do my chores.

“I wish I had more time…”
E.S.:   Sometimes I wish I had to more time to watch tv or play Legos.
T:  I think she means she wants more time with me. 

To adults, it feels like there is not much time to relax.  Everything is happening, one thing right after another, all day long, and when we do have time to relax, we have to think about what’s going to happen tomorrow. I have to take care of my family and think about how to teach and take care of my first graders.  It’s like having homework every night.  What does it feel like when you try to relax?
P:  When I have to think about things in the afternoon, I think about things I have to do tomorrow.
N: I lay down to relax and feel my heart beating. 
A.L.:  My favorite way to relax is to read Rainbow Magic books.
W:  When I get home, I read books to my brother who is five.

A.L.'s mother's fascinating drawing made the children think back to their past-present-future drawings and the idea that the present is a mixture of the past and future.  They were intrigued by the idea that while time is always moving forward, it can also move up and down, depending on the event or possibly even on the feelings associated with it.  

What would happen if time could stand still?
C:  Things would be frozen.
J:  If time stood still [while you were doing] a chore, you would have to keep doing the chore.
M: My eyes wouldn’t blink.
R: If she is doing stuff that is fun, she wants time to stand still.

“There is never enough time to love you…time flies by…time is valuable...”
C:  Some rocks are valuable, but time can’t be valuable because time is from heaven.  It’s just flying around.  You can’t see it or hold it so it can’t be valuable.
A.L.:  I think rocks are like time because I have a bunch of rocks in my rock collection. 
M:  She doesn’t get much time to have fun so when she does get time, it becomes valuable.

Can you measure time with memories?
A: On our first day of school, we went to get cupcakes and we looked at pictures of me growing up.
What should we measure time with?
A.L.: A tape measure.
M:  Love.

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